Grace on Death Row - Kenneth Copeland Ministries Blog

Grace on Death Row

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Does God’s grace reach all the way to death row? Find out in this powerful and moving story.

Dec. 12, 1981. KCM Partner Margy Palm of San Antonio, headed out in her Suburban to do some volunteer work in the community, as she often did. But on this day, as she was leaving, the Spirit of God directed her to go back in the house and get her scripture book and Kenneth Copeland teaching tapes. Then, off she went.

After volunteering, Margy decided to stop at Kmart to do some last-minute Christmas shopping before heading home to bake Christmas cookies for her young children. But what seemed like a typical day was about to change Margy’s life forever.

As she walked through the parking lot back to her Suburban, suddenly she felt a gun in her back. She turned and saw a man dressed in black, shaking and crying. But it was far more than his physical appearance that Margy noticed. “He looked like a rabid dog,” she said. “It was a strong satanic presence like I’ve never seen before,” she remembers.

She said her flesh was rattled and fearful, but her mouth said, “Do you know Jesus Christ?”

“No,” he shot back. “Get in the car.”

What Margy didn’t know at the time was that she was now seated in the passenger side of her vehicle with renowned serial killer Stephen Morin. On the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list for a decade, Stephen was running from the police who had been tipped off by his whereabouts after his most recent murder of a young woman the night before.

As helicopters circled over San Antonio in the intense search, Margy sat alone in the vehicle, where Stephen had told her to sit on her hands and not move a muscle. He locked the doors of the vehicle and told her if she tried to escape, he would kill her. Though Margy didn’t know it at the time—he meant it. He had shot the last woman who had tried to escape.

Opposing Hate With the Love of God

In spite of facing an intensely dangerous circumstance, Margy felt an overwhelming peace come over her—all fear was gone. As she sat in the Kmart parking lot for more than 15 minutes, she listened as Stephen, shaking and crying, told her his story.

He sobbed as he shared about his unhappy childhood and a mother who hated him because of who his father was. He told her of his resulting hatred for women, and the crimes he’d committed. He’d been running from the police, and he was tired—trapped. He was looking for help.

Though Margy’s natural mind was repulsed by this killer, she found herself feeling a compassion for him as the love of God washed completely over her.

She began to share with him, “Stephen, it’s no accident that I’m sitting in this car with you today. God brought you to this car. You might feel like you’re going through hell now, but it’s nothing compared to the hell you’re going to. Even though you’ve done some terrible things, God still loves you.”

Stephen listened but was confused as to why this woman was so kind to him. No one had ever loved him—and certainly not a stranger.

“I want to pray for you,” she offered.

“No,” he said.

But she came back boldly and said, “Be quiet and shut your mouth.”

She laid hands on him and prayed. Being well-versed in the Word of Faith, she took authority over every demonic force operating against him. She commanded the demons to flee from her and off of Stephen and declared that before the day was over, he would be serving Jesus Christ!

As she finished praying, the spirit of hate and fear lifted from the vehicle. They both felt a peace surround them as they sat silent. This once shaken and demon-filled murderer became peaceful and calm.

As they drove for the next 10 hours around San Antonio and then on to Kerrville, Margy continued to preach the Word of God—reading from her scripture book and playing the teaching tapes by Kenneth Copeland.

Little did she know, something big was about to happen.

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Turning Point

Avoiding police roadblocks in Austin, Stephen and Margy, who had now developed a trust—even a friendship—between one another, drove toward Kerrville, Texas. The entire time they were driving, Margy prayed in the spirit and believed God for deliverance and safety. While she was praying, she was ministering truth to the killer beside her.

As they talked, Stephen began sharing with her about his young son. Margy felt the Lord prompting her to use his relationship with his son as an illustration of God’s love for him. Once she had finished telling him how much God loved him no matter what he had done, and how Jesus had died to save him from going to hell from all the wrong things he had done, there was a turning point.

He said, “I finally understand what you’ve been talking about this whole time.”

Then, suddenly, it happened.

Stephen abruptly pulled over on the side of the freeway. His hands went straight up in the air, and he said, “Jesus, I’m sorry for everything I’ve ever done. Please forgive me; I want to go to heaven.”

Margy said a peace came over the vehicle. She looked in his eyes, and soft, love-filled eyes had replaced the demonic presence. She knew he had been saved and redeemed right there on the side of the freeway.

He began to cry and said, “It’s gone. That hate is gone.”

Then, he reached for his gun. He took it and unloaded all the bullets in her purse.

He said, “I don’t ever want to do this again. I want to tell people about Jesus Christ.”

There was one miracle after another in the journey beyond this point, but ultimately, Stephen ended up at a bus station where Margy purchased him a ticket to Fort Worth. He wanted to go and meet Kenneth Copeland and then turn himself in.

But meeting Kenneth Copeland was not what was in store for Stephen just yet.

Surrendering to God and Man

When Margy arrived home, she found her house surrounded by police cars. Through a series of events, Margy’s husband had discovered that this known serial killer had abducted his wife.

As she shared the events of the day, the police thought she had to be making up the story—it was so supernatural! She told them they would find him at the bus station where she left him. They said someone who had evaded police for that long would not be sitting in one place.

But when they arrived, they found him sitting right where she said he’d be—reading her scripture book. He didn’t run. He didn’t fight. He turned over his weapons and, just as he had surrendered his life to God, he now surrendered to man.

Sitting in the Bexar County Jail in San Antonio, Texas, Stephen Morin began to change. He read and studied his Bible day and night. He shared his testimony with prisoners, guards, and even the wardens—many of whom were saved because of his testimony.

You can help the Word of God reach prisoners through organizations like Mike Barber Ministries.

And…he got his meeting with Kenneth Copeland.

Kenneth spent time mentoring Stephen in prison. He encouraged him in the Word, taught him the fundamentals of faith, and baptized him right there in the county jail. In surrendering his life to the Lord, this serial killer had found more freedom than he had ever known. He was free.

Grace had taken one of the worst in society and washed him white as snow. Transcending natural reason, Stephen Morin is proof that grace exists even on death row.

Stephen didn’t appeal his conviction or his sentence of death by lethal injection. He just wanted to go home to the Lord. There was one thing he wanted to do before he did, though.

God’s Messengers of Grace

One night, the night before his birthday, he asked God if he could see the woman who helped him get saved one last time.

Through a series of miraculous events, Margy showed up the next morning. He came out in shackles, and when he saw her, he started to cry. The warden also began to weep. He told Margy that Stephen had brought him to Christ and helped a lot of other people, as well.

She saw him again the day before his execution. It was then he told her something she hadn’t known.

“Remember when I pulled the car over and raised my hands? Right before I did that, I heard an audible voice that said, ‘This is the last time I’m going to call you,’” he shared.

It was through Margy and the teaching of Kenneth Copeland that Stephen received God’s perfect and powerful, all-consuming grace—complete with salvation, deliverance and peace that only He can give.

The Day of Lethal Injection

March 13, 1985—Huntsville, Texas. Kenneth Copeland sat in the execution room, at Stephen’s request.

As they talked, Kenneth said to him, “Stephen, when it comes time, give me a sign if grace is enough.”

Stephen replied, “I’ll do that.”

Warden Harvey came in and strapped Stephen to the gurney, and then asked Stephen if he had any last words. Kenneth remembers it well.

Stephen spoke to the crowd in the room. He said, “If God can do something with someone like me, imagine what He can do for you.” And he preached and preached until the warden had to stop him. Then, he prayed a prayer thanking the Lord for their time of fellowship together, then committed his spirit to Him.

As the machine turned on and the lethal injection made its way into his body, Kenneth remembers Stephen looking at him, winking and giving him two thumbs up—the sign that grace was more than enough even unto death.

Read more about Stephen Morin HERE.


Grace Is Enough—And It’s For Everyone

Most would say Stephen Morin didn’t deserve forgiveness, mercy or grace. They’d say after everything he’d done, he wasn’t worthy.

That’s our inability to see things without human reasoning. God is a merciful God. He supersedes our understanding and makes things new where the world says they are forever broken.

Margy remembers the experience as one that helped her know what the grace of God really means. Of this she said, “I got a glimpse of how much God loves humanity. The depth of it. It changed me forever.”

At one time, Stephen had been married, but he left his wife. Shortly after, she was saved at a Billy Graham crusade. When she saw him in the news, she had come into agreement with a friend for Stephen’s salvation.

Do you have a family member or friend who is in prison? Pray this prayer for your loved one in prison today.

God was after Stephen—just as He is after every person on earth today. Through his former wife’s faith-filled prayers, the encounter with Margy, and the teaching and mentoring of Kenneth Copeland, God revealed that grace is enough—and it’s for everyone.

This is only one story of grace on death row—there are countless others. No matter what you’ve done or how you’ve lived up to this point—the goodness and grace of God is more than enough. Jesus loves you and wants to spend eternity with you in heaven—all you have to do is surrender to Him and receive it.

Watch Kenneth and Gloria Copeland minister in a women’s prison.

Related Article:

A Prayer for a Loved One in Prison

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